Money makes the world go ‘round

Posted by Athena Parthenos

…Money makes the world go ‘round, the world go ‘round….

I’ll explain how in “a few words”...

I am Friulian, but on occasion, in addition to foreign languages and Italian, I speak the Venetian dialect. Having reached the age of remembrance, when memories related to my grandmother resurface, some special words she used to say always make me smile. From the playful “sbrindola” (a young woman who’s always around), as she used to call me, to “sgarpie” that, more than to the cobwebs in the house, was often referred to her church mates, those more wrinkled than her... or others like “becanoto”, “de sofegon” and “striga”...

So, a few days ago I came across another one of these words: “schei” and, for once, I went in search of its origin. The etymological meaning of our word “schei” has curious historical European roots.

In fact, the word comes from the German “Scheidemünze”, a currency used in Austria and Germany from 1871 to 1914, whose metal value was lower than the exchange value.

At this point, I am certain that the smartest amongst you have already noticed all the similarities of the case; after all, if you think back to certain European economic policies, you cannot help but note that even today Germany exercises the greatest influence at the European level...

Currencies such as the bezzo and the craizer (from Kreutzer) date back to the commercial relations with Venice; the same Venetian currency “bezzo” does not derive from the standard Batzen, but from the Swiss-German Bätz(en), Betz(en)… which, of course, gave birth to the Friulian bês.

Apparently, we have received an important imprinting on the lexical level and, after so much time, not only do we still find traces of it in our language, but if we give a quick glance to another word-that gave rise to numerous recurrences over time, we’ll find out some other extraordinary repercussions:

The “tallero” (in German Taler, in the past Thaler) was an important silver coin, minted in Europe for about four centuries. In other countries it took similar names: in Swedish and Norwegian it was called Daler; in Dutch Daler, more recently Daalder; in Portuguese Dólar; in English Dollar; in Czech Tolar; in Slovenian Tolar; in Belorussian Талер, Таляр; in Hungarian Tallér. Furthermore, the Romanian Leu is named after the lion (in Dutch leeuw) depicted on the Dutch thaler, which was commonly found in Romania in the seventeenth century. (Cit. from Wikipedia).

Sadly, we must admit that all this does not seem to apply in the economic terms. The wise skills and the concrete strength of the German economy are still a mirage for us, and, although our well-known national characteristics identify us as admirable variety artists, hefty tightrope walkers, or charming rogues, the financial world seems to show little interest in these kinds of skills; sometimes with great frustration of our hefty, but absolutely brilliant, ruling class of tightrope walkers.

However, if we take a quick look here: http://www.infomercatiesteri.it/scambi_commerciali.php?id_paesi=69

we will also see that, if we have been influenced by the German language in our verbal expression, perhaps we have exercised our influence on equally important levels: food, agriculture, and clothing are three items in the previously indicated list, whose weight is not negligible, just as much as certain metal products, non-domestic equipment and electronics, as well as so much more, are equally not negligible.

This is well-known by today’s entrepreneurs who are preparing not only commercially, but also linguistically, to trace the network of contacts that will take them abroad and even to Germany itself, better still if wearing magicians’ and jugglers’ clothes; after all, Liza Minnelli once said that “Life is a cabaret…”

Stefania Piva, blogger of Athena Parthenos srl.

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